Mark Cavendish will ride the Tour of Britain after being confirmed as HTC-Highroad’s leader for the eight-stage race, which starts on Sunday.
Cavendish, who became the first Brit to win the Tour de France’s green jersey in July, abandoned the Vuelta a Espana, which finishes on the same day the Tour of Britain starts, on stage four and UCI rules dictate a rider cannot start another event in the mean time unless given permission by the race’s organisers.
But the 26-year-old has been given the thumbs up by Vuelta commissaires and will now complete his World Championship preparations alongside Lars Bak, Matt Brammeier, Bernhard Eisel, Alex Rasmussen and Mark Renshaw.
The Manx Missile’s inclusion completes a star-studded sprint line-up, with current world champion Thor Hushovd and Ben Swift also set to race for Garmin-Cervelo and Team Sky respectively.
“As a team we have worked hard over the past fortnight to ensure that Mark Cavendish rides The Tour of Britain,” said race director Mick Bennett.
“We are very pleased that Mark has been given permission by the organisers of the Vuelta a Espana to start the Tour of Britain, and will be able to race in front of home crowds for potentially the final time before the 2012 London Olympics.
“Mark’s addition to the start list will ensure that the sprints are hotly contested. I am sure the spectacle of Mark, Thor Hushovd, Ben Swift and others going head-to-head at stage finishes will draw huge crowds to the roadside once more.”
Cavendish, who has won 20 stages of the Tour de France, last rode The Tour of Britain in 2007, when he won the opening two stages of the race.
“[I’m] So happy to announce on this lovely Monday morning that I will be racing in this year’s Tour of Britain with my HTC-Highroad team,” tweeted Cavendish.
His HTC-Highroad team, making one of their final outings before disbanding at the end of the season, have won the past two editions of Britain’s biggest professional cycle race, with Edvald Boasson Hagen taking the honours in 2009, and Michael Albasini the winner 12 months ago.
Meanwhile, four domestic teams – Endura Racing, Motorpoint, Sigma Sport-Specialized and Raleigh – have also announced their provisional line-ups.
Lars Bak (Den); Matt Brammeier (Irl); Mark Cavendish (GBr); Bernhard Eisel (Aut); Alex Rasmussen (Den); Mark Renshaw (Aus)
Reserves: Matt Goss (Aus); Gatis Smukulis (Lat)
Jack Bauer NZl)); Iker Camano (Spa); Rene Mandri (Est); Paul Voss (Ger); Alex Wetherall (Swe); Ian Wilkinson (GBr)
Reserves: Alexandre Blain (Fra); Rob Partridge (GBr); Scott Thwaites (GBr)
Motorpoint Pro Cycling:
Ian Bibby (GBr); Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol); Will Bjergfelt (GBr); Tobyn Horton (GBr); Johnny McEvoy (GBr); Peter Williams (GBr)
Reserves: James Sampson (GBr)
Russell Hampton (GBr); Steve Lampier (GBr); Tom Last (GBr); Tom Murray (GBr); Simon Richardson (GBr); Wouter Sybrandy (Ned)
Reserves: Stephen Adams (GBr); Tom Copeland (GBr); Kit Gilham (GBr)
Dan Fleeman (GBr); Richard Handley (GBr); Liam Holohan (GBr); Jeroen Janssen (Ned); Gael Le Bellec (Fra); Jamie Sparling (Can)
Reserves: Matt Cronshaw (GBr); Matt Kipling (GBr)